Oklahoma sophomore linebacker Frank Shannon readily admits that — personally, at least — this year is much better for him than last year.
In an effort to combat the Big 12's high-powered, spread offenses, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops often used schemes with just one and sometimes zero linebackers on the field.
“It was frustrating,” Shannon said. “The media was walking around, and they were saying linebackers weren't nothing and stuff like that. We hear all that stuff. We're human. We hear about it. It did affect all of us, and now we get a chance to see what we can do.”
This year, though, the Sooners have switched to a 3-3-5 base scheme, and there are at least two linebackers on the field virtually all the time.
“It feels pretty good at OU,” Shannon said. “It never felt bad being a linebacker at OU. The tradition is that we've always been good and I feel this year we've been able to prove ourselves more.”
STOOPS VISITS DEONDRE CLARK
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops made an in-home visit to meet with Douglass defensive end Deondre Clark Wednesday night, Clark’s mother told The Oklahoman.
Clark, a 6-foot-3, 240-pound defensive end, has been verbally committed to LSU since the summer. He recently attended OU’s game against Iowa State in Norman.
Ranked No. 3 on The Oklahoman’s Super 30 list of the state’s top recruits, Clark had at least 18 sacks each of the last three seasons, and more than 60 for his career. He also rushed for more than 1,300 yards this season after shifting from fullback to tailback.
Clark’s recruiting with the Sooners has been up and down. He developed a strong relationship with former defensive line coach Jackie Shipp, but lost interest in OU after Shipp was let go after last season.
THESE SOONERS FAMILIAR WITH STILLWATER
After the Big 12 Conference lost Nebraska and Colorado and became a 10-team league, Oklahoma was force to play at Oklahoma State in back-to-back years.
This year's OU senior class will have played in Stillwater in three of the last four years after Saturday's game at Boone Pickens Stadium.
Senior cornerback Aaron Colvin said that's an advantage for OU.
“Being somewhere, you already kind of get a gist of what's going to happen, what's going on,” Colvin said. “So, personally, I know me and some other guys, we know what to expect. We know what we're going to get. They're going to be rowdy. This is for all the marbles for them. But we've played some tough games away so it won't be any different.”
KNIGHT, HAYS MEET AGAIN
Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight and his former high-school teammate, Austin Hays, are now on opposite sides of the Bedlam rivalry.
Hays is a sophomore receiver at Oklahoma State. He appeared in 10 games as a true freshman last year, recording 29 catches, 394 yards and two touchdowns, but has been injured for most of this season.
Knight said he and Hays saw each other back home in San Antonio over the Thanksgiving break.
I didn't talk to him about football, though,” Knight said. “It was good to see him.”
Knight, his twin brother — OU redshirt freshman tight end Connor Knight — and Hays all played together at San Antonio's Ronald Reagan High.
“He's been our buddy since we were in kindergarten,” Trevor Knight said. “It's nice to be pretty close.”
Senior safety Gabe Lynn, on the Sooners' 44-10 loss at OSU in 2011:
“It wasn't just bad; we got blown out. We definitely want to go up there and get a win. We don't want to come back like we did after that last trip. I just remember it was a cold and it was a bad game.”